Join Dean DeBiase and Microsoft's President - US Enterprise, Matt Renner, a tech industry veteran who leads a $13B division with an organization of over 2,000 people servicing thousands of clients, as we discuss what his team is doing to help the world’s largest brands reboot their growth and innovation in unprecedented times.
With the world sheltered at home, schools closed and millions of people across the globe attempting to work and learn remotely, demand for Microsoft services has skyrocketed. I took a look behind the scenes with Matt Renner, President of US Enterprise at Microsoft and a tech industry veteran, who is responsible for the growth of a $13B P&L and driving digital transformation across 2,200 of their largest customers.
We jumped into topics that are top of mind, like how the remote enterprise is changing, the future of work and commerce, and how his teams are helping the world’s largest brands reboot in unprecedented times.
Enabling Customers to Work Remotely
In 2020, work-life balance has changed dramatically, with large enterprises moving faster to deploy tech. Microsoft has helped companies pivot to work from home, with a staggering number of customers that need help deploying remote work infrastructure, like Microsoft Teams. With huge volume increases across industries, Matt estimated Microsoft is “up to about 75 million daily users of the (Teams) product that are utilizing it to collaborate with clients and employees.”
Accelerating Digital at Unprecedented Speeds
Some estimate that during the last six months, digital adoption has advanced by the equivalent of a decade and big business has finally made it a front burner priority. Like other tech leaders, Matt estimates “...we are at about four times the forecast we had for this year when we turned the corner in January.”
Cloud providers like Microsoft Azure are designed to scale quickly and meet elastic demand. With over 60 data-center regions around the globe, they can shift traffic if a natural disaster or power outage affects capacity in one part of the world. “We are the fastest-growing of the big three platform cloud providers. It’s a huge part of our evolution to not just being a cloud provider, but also to provide the infrastructure and to enable our customers to be nimble … it is a vital part of our growth strategy.”
Leading the Enterprise from Home
With home office requirements expanding, Microsoft has confronted a combination of operational challenges and sales opportunities themselves. With over 50,000 US employees, they moved to a remote workforce with 99% of their workers working from home. “With a combination of work shifting to the home office, how do you draw the line, when you are at home and where work starts ... it has created pressure with people." There is a lot of pressure on employees, and Matt’s team is focused on the overall health of their employees because it will transcend to how they then take care of customers.
On the upside, Fortune 500 companies with large salesforces have seen increases in positive customer relationships and contact ratio improvements as the lack of travel has allowed them to connect with more clients on a more frequent basis.
Retail has struggled to create more seamless experiences around their customers’ journeys. It is one of Microsoft’s most successful sectors, and as the software giant tries to gain ground in cloud computing against market leader AWS, they are doubling down with everything from Power Apps and partnerships to new capabilities that can help retailers focus on their customers. For example, Microsoft and Adobe have launched a cloud platform that will provide Walgreens Boots Alliance customers with personalized health care and shopping experiences.
"The work we’re doing with Microsoft is critical as we organize that information and data in a cloud-based solution. This new cloud platform puts our most valuable data in one place and allows us to orchestrate experiences that meet people where they are, giving them what they need." Vineet Mehra, Global Chief Marketing Officer
Ikea has started using a scheduling feature to manage the shifts of restaurant staffers. The company may put video screens in stores that use Teams to connect customers with advisers, though I recommend letting employees and consumers UYOD. Remember Nextel Push to Talk? Well, Microsoft’s new Walkie Talkie feature turns your devices into one, great for front-line workers.
Co-creating Growth and Innovation
I have talked a lot on this program about the need to shift to open-innovation platforms that allow large enterprises to co-create new growth and start Dancing with Startups—and Microsoft heard me. Matt is optimistic about their shift to customer-centric innovation—a programmatic approach to invest with their customers upfront and create new products, services and ventures together. The more they innovative together, the more clients will tend to invest in new product/service partnerships—like Walgreen’s.
Named a “Growth Guru” by Inc. Magazine, Dean DeBiase is a Faculty Member at Kellogg School of Management and Silicon Valley serial CEO, where he has served in chief executive and chairman roles of more than a dozen emerging growth companies, CEO of Fortune 500 subsidiaries, and a director on public, private, family-enterprise, CVC, PE and VC boards. He is a Technology Fellow at Northwestern University, a Board Leadership Fellow at The National Association of Corporate Directors and an Advisor to the National Science Foundation. A Forbes Contributor and co-author of the best-selling book The Big Moo, Dean is working on his next book, Dancing with Startups. Connect with Dean here: www.linkedin.com/in/FollowDean
Dean is Host of The Reboot Chronicles, a popular no-holds-barred podcast on iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and YouTube that has been bringing together CEOs, entrepreneurs, authors and global leaders, for over a decade, to discuss how organizations are rebooting their leadership-competitiveness of everything from growth, innovation and technology to talent, culture and governance. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts or at https://www.revieve.com/rebootchronicles.